The nation’s busiest train station may finally get that makeover we’ve all been waiting for. New York governor Andrew Cuomo revealed plans Wednesday to revive a $3 billion proposal to transform Penn Station into the Empire Station Complex, a modernized new transportation hub. The ambitious project was announced as part of the governor's greater vision for a streamlined statewide transportation network.
Currently located beneath Madison Square Garden, the labyrinthine Penn Station has long been criticized for being difficult to navigate and dangerously overcrowded. Built in 1963, the current station handles 600,000 travelers a day, but the building was only designed to handle a third of that traffic.
“Penn Station is the heart of New York’s economy and transportation network, but it has been outdated, overcrowded, and unworthy of the Empire State for far too long,” said Governor Cuomo. “We want to build Penn Station to be better than it ever was, and that is exactly what we are going to do.”
Cuomo’s ambitious plans look to expand Penn Station’s footprint to both sides of Eighth Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets. The new Empire Station Complex project will include two main parts: the potential expansion of Penn Station’s underground space and addition of an above-ground glass-walled entrance, as well as the renovation of the mostly disused James A. Farley post office into Amtrak’s new train station and a 210,000-square-foot waiting room. The relocation of Amtrak will open up more space for circulation and new tracks for New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad.
The governor aims to receive expressions of interest from developers within 90 days. The public/private partnership will allow developers to manage retail spaces, control the rights for new office and residential space, and select architects for the project. Cuomo has thus far committed $325 million in government funds for the project and has plans to break ground by the end of this year.
Images via Governor Cuomo’s office